Heidi has been a private harp instructor for over nine years and has enjoyed teaching an age range from 6-60+. Her desire is to pass on her love for this instrument and music to her students, whether they are interested in pursuing the instrument as a profession or they just desire to take a few lessons for a post-retirement hobby. The ability to read music or a year of piano lessons is strongly recommended, but each potential student will be evaluated on an individual basis. Regardless of where a student begins musically, Heidi continues to instill a solid foundation in music theory, encourages student creativity for writing their own works, holds contests amongst students for practicing and meeting goals, brings students together to play duets or in an ensemble, and offers performance experience through recitals or local events. Contact Heidi for more information about lessons and locating an instrument!
If a student is interested in beginning harp lessons, there are many questions that usually arise from either the parents or children, and my goal is that the following section will answer some of those questions!
Purchasing/Renting A Harp
Where do we purchase or rent a harp? And should we purchase or rent?
The answer to these questions is not nearly as difficult as it may seem. First of all, the decision to purchase versus rent will probably be based upon the immediate commitment, availability of harps in the area, and age of the student. A great option is to contact Lou Hurst of Hurst Harps here in Lincoln, Nebraska about renting or purchasing a lever or pedal harp. Often, a rent-to-own program is a great way in the beginning to determine the interest of the student during the first few months. Also, there are occasionally used harps available for purchase in the area.
What about a pedal harp versus a lever harp?
Most beginning students choose to start with a lever harp, however if they are a little older and very serious about continuing harp as a career, a pedal harp might be a wise investment.
Where do we purchase music, strings and accessories?
Check out the links page for several online harp stores.
Care of the Harp
We have a harp – now how do we take care of it?
Tuning – The old joke says that harpists spend half their life tuning, and the other half playing out of tune! Tuning the harp really isn’t as laborious as it might seem, although, if you consistently tune your harp on a daily basis, you’ll find that it doesn’t get out of tune nearly as much. Most often, musicians tune to 440 caliber, which can be adjusted on most tuners. Also, start tuning the harp from middle C down to the lowest note, and then begin at the D just above middle C and work your way towards the highest strings.
Lever harps – for the most versatility, it is best to tune lever harps to the key of Eb Major (C D Eb F G Ab Bb). Be sure to always tune the harp with the levers down to get the most accurate pitch!
Pedal harps – Similar to lever harps, tune the harp with the pedals in the flat position for the most accuracy. From there, you may need to tune a specific string if it is still out of tune when the pedals are moved to the natural or sharp position.
How do I move this instrument without damaging it?
Harps are fairly high maintenance instruments and require much care in moving! It’s very important to make sure that you have some sort of cover to protect it from the extreme temperatures, and especially if there is any sort of precipitation. Something else to be aware of is the wind – the harp with a cover on is like a sail! Depending upon the size of harp will determine the type of vehicle needed as a harpmobile. Most often either mini-vans, station wagons, or SUVs have been found to work well for transporting any type of harp! The important thing is to have the area where the harp is placed padded with either some type of cushion or pillows. When laying the harp down on it’s side – always place it with the lever or disc side up. It’s also possible to lay the harp down on it’s column (between bucket seats in a van), just make sure it is padded properly and won’t tip when turning corners!
What type of general care things should I be aware of?
Harps are great dust collectors! It’s great to have a cloth to regularly wipe it off and keep it clean. Also, it’s very important to make sure you wash your hands whenever you play – otherwise, the strings will start to get a buildup. It’s not recommended to use furniture polish on the harp, rather you can purchase harp polish through Lyon & Healy. To clean build-up that invariably happens on the wood, use Murphy’s Cleaner.